In reality it has been one month since Vivian has died and gone to heaven. In my mind or my "world" not really any time has passed. I don't know, does the shock go away? I had killer headaches the first two days afterwards that 9 advil could not put a dent in. Numbness allowed me to get through the many funeral details and commitments. The choking grief has left me gasping for air, punching me in the gut again and again. A physical shakiness was my constant companion for the first week and now just shows up once in a while. Someone told me the headaches had to do with the adrenaline from how quickly I assessed the situation Tuesday morning with Vivian and made the harrowing drive to the ER.
It was obvious something was very wrong when Vivian suddenly started to cough up blood, and I had her to St. Lukes in 10 or 11 minutes flat. Yet it still wasn't fast enough. I try to think how she was already in heaven, happy and healthy, while I cradled her lifeless shell of a body and ran into the building. I could barely catch my breath, everything seemed a blur and strength from my arms and legs seemed to be literally being sucked into the tile floor after medical staff took over her care.
I have been asked a lot of questions over the last month and there is some confusion, it seems. Some parts I'd like to clarify. Vivian's death was a complete and utter shock. It was not on our radar at all. Vivian had an awesome cardiology appt on Sept 13th. She had put on weight and her O2 level notched up a bit. Vivian had had her heart surgery June 23rd and left the hospital July 18th. It was a grueling but fruitful road re-establishing her ability to eat enough calories to heal and grow. We had just reached the point of eating solid food and keeping them down. Anyway, on the afternoon of Sept. 14th Vivian became somewhat lethargic and then had a clear runny nose on Thursday, Sept. 15th. She appeared to be getting the same cold I caught on Sunday prior (same symptoms) and the rest of the family had minor colds too. I was concerned about Vivian Sunday evening with her lack of energy. Everything else about her seemed fine. We called the doctor Monday at 12:18pm and they got us in for a 1pm appt. All 5 of us went down together. The doctor listened to her heart, lungs, bowel and kidneys and all seemed to be okay. She consulted with our cardiologist too. I noted her abdomen seemed a little stiff and her eyelids might be a bit puffy. I also changed her diaper and little to no pee in it. She had some dinner at home and enjoyed her bath Daddy gave her, even pointing to tell Daddy to get the basket of toys and chose her favorite yellow duck to play with. She slept all night.
Twenty hours after the dr. appt. Vivian was gone. Just like that. From what we know so far it was NOT her heart directly.
Anyway, last night Isaac cried out at 2:30am. I flipped the covers back and leapt out of bed with such energy to go to him--it was so good to be needed. Multiple times a week for the 15.5 months we had with Vivian I was jumping out of bed to respond to her cries. And you know, I was perfectly fine with it, glad to do it, wishing I could have been her mama to comfort her for her first two years too. With Isaac last night, he had fallen out of bed. I scooped him up and took him to the potty and redeposited and snuggled him up. Only 5 minutes of my time required. Sigh.
Vivian was more complex. What and why was she waking up? Did she hurt? Was she scared, a bad dream? We couldn't know, she couldn't tell us. How it broke my heart, but we started a routine. She did not like to be rocked, so we strolled around the darkened house listening to classical music and sipped water. Eventually, we morphed that into going downstairs to the basement and watching a Baby Einstein movie. She liked that and so did I because she would relax across my lap. I could hold her hand and kiss her cheek or temple and breathe in the scent of her hair. My sweet little baby girl! The last time we did that together was in that last week, maybe even Sunday night, and her little hand squeezed my thumb. I felt like she said 'I love you' in that gesture. I cherished that time together as much as I liked getting a full night's rest.
Oh how I miss Vivian so intensely much! I will keep writing here because it helps to share my broken heart. You know, I have wanted to adopt children since I was 9 or 10 years old. We picked out Vivian's name 10 years ago. We waited for her for 4.5 years. We loved and cherished her and she brought us immense joy and laughter for 15.5 months. We will miss her for the rest of our lives.
The only thought that terrifies me is that during our adoption process we could have said no. We could have passed on her because she was delayed in her development. I thank God for the gift of time we had with Vivian. It was entirely too short, yes. But for the priviledge and gift of loving and caring for Vivian, we will carry our broken hearts as a badge of honor the rest of our lives.
I hope Vivian does her happy dance every day in Jesus' lap.